Did Denny Hamlin threaten to wreck Corey LaJoie at Homestead in a text message? LaJoie says yes. Hamlin says no.
LaJoie made the accusation on his “Sunday Money” podcast as he detailed the Twitter dispute that he’s had with Hamlin since iRacing became a NASCAR staple during the pandemic. We’ll get to what LaJoie said about the threat first before we give you the backstory to a Twitter fight you probably haven’t been paying attention to.
“He texts me on Friday night ‘Congrats on getting your car crashed.’ Talking about how he’s going to wreck me on Sunday,” LaJoie said. “Premeditated threat. So I just hit the like button it like this, I had a little thumbs up on it. So then he proceeded — this was like at 11:30 at night, he proceeded to text my car owner, Mason [St. Hilaire] the general manager, as well as my crew chief and says hey congrats on getting your stuff crashed your driver’s got to learn a hard lesson.”
LaJoie then went on to say that Hamlin was in “full psycho mode.”
After LaJoie’s story made the rounds on Twitter, Hamlin immediately disputed it.
Lol. Man. Guys just can’t help themselves. The above statement is FALSE btw.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) June 17, 2020
LaJoie even claimed that his team owner Archie St. Hilaire notified NASCAR and vice president Steve O’Donnell of Hamlin’s threats.
“So my owner’s like hey, that’s not how this is going to work. Because this is a $300,000 race car for something that was a Twitter beef that he started. So he sends the stuff to O’Donnell and O’Donnell is like ‘OK look, like if you’re going to wreck the guy don’t just premeditate it because we already suspended Matt Kenseth for two races [in 2015] for wrecking Joey Logano on purpose. Now something’s premeditated so we’re going to have to hit it even harder, right? So do what you’ve gotta do.’”
Hamlin won Sunday’s race at Homestead for his third win of the 2020 season. LaJoie finished 29th.
How this all started
The beef started when Hamlin was racing in NASCAR’s virtual races during the pandemic and LaJoie chimed in from the sidelines on March 23.
It helps when you can lower the realistic effects of dirty air and give everybody 2 brand new cars to smash up.
— Corey LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) March 23, 2020
For years we’ve been hearing about how bad your cars are.. Now’s your chance. Log onto https://t.co/XGwNzVC3cy to learn more.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) March 23, 2020
LaJoie then finished second at Talladega in the virtual race there and it simmered until the past week when LaJoie — always a staunch defender of his own driving abilities despite spending most of his career in lower-tier equipment — got into a discussion with Hamlin about the impacts of a good car following the race at Atlanta. That happened after LaJoie posted a picture of his energy expenditure from his in-race fitness tracker.
A few days later, Hamlin struggled at Martinsville — a place where he’s had a lot of success — and LaJoie finished ahead of him.
I only have 3 more days to capitalize on this so keep it coming.
— Corey LaJoie (@CoreyLaJoie) June 11, 2020
Hamlin then told his crew chief Chris Gabehart to not respond to comments that LaJoie had made on his podcast. LaJoie noted that Hamlin was starting on the pole at Homestead and would have a better chance of winning because Sunday’s race at Homestead wasn’t for the title.
Don’t engage with him Chris. We are a WINNING TEAM. Something most will never sniff. Talk is very cheap but in the end someone still has to pay for it.
It’s nothing more then a reach for some attention.
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) June 13, 2020
After he won the race, Hamlin was asked about LaJoie’s comments. Who knows how much longer this whole kerfuffle could last, even if Hamlin said Sunday that he thought the two were “okay now.”
“We had some discussions. I think we both took some things personal. I should say we were both pretty sensitive to what the other was saying.”
“I know Corey enough, like I said to him, to mess with him. I only mess with the people I like. I don't mess with the people I don't like. I think he was sensitive to what I was saying, made some remarks that were pretty sensitive to me.”
“I understand his stance and he understands mine. Mine was to win the races I've won, I didn't have the best car every time. I still have to go out and beat probably some of the best drivers in history that drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart‑Haas and Penske.”
“No one gave me anything. My parents had nothing, like nothing nothing. I got here the old‑fashioned way. Any time you feel like anyone says, Hey, if I had what you had, I could do that, it's offensive. It's a little offensive because you know personally how hard you worked to get there. I took offense to it. He took offense to the things that I said. I understand it was a miss ‑‑ just kind of two guys that were talking about some sensitive subjects. I think we're okay now.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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